COLUMBIA — First Ward Councilwoman Ginny Chadwick asked city staff to consider banning alcohol at Douglass Park at the City Council's June 2 meeting.
The councilwoman said she noticed the alcohol problem at the Douglass Athletic Association's softball game between the police and fire departments and said she wants to put an end to what "continues to be an issue."
The debate about banning alcohol from Douglass Park is nothing new. In February 2013, then-First Ward Councilman Fred Schmidt proposed a similar ordinance. But an investigation found that constituents thought the ordinance would be too restrictive, Parks and Recreation Director Mike Griggs said at the meeting.
Chadwick requested Schmidt's report as well as a report on the city's intoxication ordinance and how it is enforced, while asking city staff to look at other cities' ordinances about alcohol and parks.
"The use of alcohol in the park is not like it is at other parks," Chadwick said at the meeting. "It's a perpetual thing that people are drinking in the park."
Griggs was part of the group that created Schmidt's 2013 report, and noted that alcohol is not a problem at most city parks.
"We allow (alcohol) at other parks, but it's mainly for family reunions and celebrations," he said.
Griggs said alcohol is even sold by some Parks and Recreation facilities at different parks — such as golf courses and athletic fields — and there aren't any issues at those parks, but Douglass Park has a "different atmosphere."
At the June 2 meeting, Chadwick said some constituents have asked her to look into banning alcohol and said she's received support "from other people, too."
She declined to comment further.
Three parks in the city — Paquin, Flat Branch and North Village parks — ban alcohol, except for special events with permits, according to city ordinance 17, section 114.
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